5. Beware the late-night stop
Sometimes, after finally dozing off, the bright lights of some middle-of-nowhere bus station will wake you from a slumber. Before you step out to stretch your legs, remember to grab your valuables – and take a quick look back at your bus, honing in on something that makes it look unique. You really don’t want to get aboard the wrong bus in the middle of the night, just because you’re a little bleary eyed.
6. Pack earplugs
You might be tired but the bus driver (quite rightly) wants to stay awake. Expect to hear local pop music or badly dubbed action films played at deafening volume, sometimes right the way through the night. Add in the noise from squeaking brakes, ringing phones and other passengers’ conversations, and you’ll know that your cheap set of throwaway earplugs was well worth the investment.
7. Bring something to do
One big plus with the night bus is that it combines useful A-to-B transport with somewhere cheap to sleep. The downside is that, by the time the bus departs, it’s usually far too dark outside to admire the scenery that’s whizzing by outside. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re going to need something else to do. Charge up your phone before departure, pack a book, and bring a few beers to crack open with your fellow travellers.
8. Use your GPS
Announcements about upcoming bus stops aren’t always very obvious – or even in a language you’ll be able to understand. So, when you think you might be nearing your final destination, open up your favourite navigation app (Google Maps works well). You’ll quickly see how close you are to the city centre, and can work out whether your next stop – be that a hotel or another transport hub – is within walking distance of the bus station. If it is, you can wander straight past the touts, tuk-tuks and taxi drivers, and start the next stage of your adventure.
9. Focus on the end
No matter how bumpy the roads are, or how numb your bum is, remember that all bus rides have to come to an end. You might be stiff, achy, and a little cranky on arrival, but you’ll have survived your journey through the night. And, hopefully, there’ll be a nice hot shower nearby with your name on it.
Have you got more tips for surviving the overnight bus? Share them in the comments below. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.